The Future of Blood Donation
Stocks of blood fell below the minimum required levels more than a dozen times in just six months between April 2018 and March 2019. A shock NHS report revealed there were 13 separate occasions nationally when “unexpected challenges” included supply shortages. The crisis – blamed on a number of factors including closures of donor sessions – equated to stocks being below the minimum amount once every two weeks. Nearly a quarter of donors stop donating every year for reasons such as poor health or pregnancy and still need to be replaced with new donors, which means a need of nearly 135,000 new donors a year. In the shorter term, blood can only be stored for 35 days, which means there is a constant need for donations. Stock volume can also be affected by temporary problems such as bad weather.
25% of appointments can be cancelled at the last minute
5% of blood donors from black, asian and minority ethnic communities
The present blood donation policies such as mutual help donation provide short-term solutions for dealing with blood shortages; however, China needs a long-term strategy to tackle this crisis in the near future. For China to transition from relying heavily on mutual help donations to using voluntary unpaid donations only, the country will need to raise public awareness of the need for regular and unpaid blood donation; rectify the widespread perception that donating blood could harm the donor's health and even give them a disease; retain young voluntary donors as repeat donors; enhance the transparency of the blood donation system; reduce regional disparities in blood shortages by redistributing blood stocks in different regions appropriately; and improve blood safety.
0.92% of China's population donating blood
1-3% of the population needs to donate blood to match requirements
Mass appeals by Vitalant and many other U.S. blood centres are more frequent and largely go unnoticed. Research shows that younger generations expect a more individualised experience with their blood centre. They want to feel and understand the impact they are making on others and themselves. This is a challenge for blood centres as blood donation is generally an anonymous act. There is a good chance their donation of blood and blood components is going to transform a life right in their own backyard, but they are not receiving the information, thus are less likely to donate.
20% drop in donations during holidays
33% of hospitals have one day of supplies
Africa is grappling with a critical shortage of blood that is affecting services and putting patients’ lives at risk. For instance, the Ugandan health ministry’s blood bank facility in the capital, Kampala, which stores and distributes supplies to hospitals, is practically empty. It has just 150 units of blood remaining, not enough to meet requirements on an average day in the city. Nationally, Uganda needs at least 340,000 units of safe blood annually, but usually only collects 200,000 a year.
140,000 more units needed per year
£1.4M extra is needed in Uganda to procure donor and testing kits